PARIS (Reuters) - As the years go by, Roger Federer has little trouble coping with the pressure of playing the early rounds of a grand slam event but it is an altogether different story when it comes to dealing with post-match scrutiny.
The Swiss third seed won a record 234th grand-slam match, surpassing Jimmy Connors’s professional-era record, by dismissing Romanian Adrian Ungur 6-3 6-2 6-7 6-3 in the second round on Tuesday.
The 16-times major champion should have won the match in straight sets but did not seem too concerned about his minor wobble in the third set.
“I think (playing the early rounds) is a bit easier now, just because I have been around for so long that, even though I expect myself to win, I can still manage to do that,” the third seed told reporters.
“Whereas in the beginning when you think you’re good but you’re maybe not that good yet, you suffer many more surprise losses.”
But with fame comes scrutiny.
“The difference to playing a match where you’re the overwhelming favourite potentially in the early rounds of a grand slam is you have to (deal with the) press (inquisition) afterwards,” said Federer.
”So you’re talking about a match that potentially wasn’t that close sometimes or they make a bigger deal out of maybe you losing a set or getting broken a couple of times, whereas maybe at another tournament you wouldn’t talk about that.
“So it’s just a bit of a different momentum in the press conference. I think that’s the toughest part sometimes.”
Federer seemed in complete control of his match on a sunsoaked Court Philippe Chatrier against Ungur before he wasted two match points in the third-set tiebreak, allowing world the number 91 to stretch the match into a fourth set.
Federer said he let his guard down in the tiebreak he lost 8-6.
“Instead of being aggressive, I let him show me what he could do. He played two beautiful shots,” he said.
Ungur then ran out of steam as Federer cruised through the set and into round three.
Although Federer had won his opening match in straight sets, Federer was far happier with his performance on Tuesday.
“(I felt) far better than during the first round. It was obviously a totally different match, because my opponent today was used to playing on clay, whereas my first opponent was used to harder surfaces,” he explained.
”Of course rallies were different because of that. Even though I won the first set 6-3 with a solid break, I knew that if he was to get in the match, it would be more difficult, and he had many opportunities during the second set.
“In the third set I made wrong decisions. He got in the match, and he played a very good third set.”
Federer, who is contesting his 14th consecutive Roland Garros, will next face either France’s Nicolas Mahut or Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar